Trail Runners for Hiking
I bought a pair of Inov-8 TerRoc 330 trail running shoes (left) to compare against the Inov-8 Roclite 320’s (right) I reviewed recently. A number of you who commented on my Roclite review said that you were using the TerRocs and I decided that I wanted to try them too. They’re very affordable.
Actually, I’d ordered the TerRocs last month but UPS lost my order somewhere in transit. Zappos.com was kind enough to give me a full credit and expedite my order to me before UPS even started their investigation. They (Zappos) do have great customer service. I try to purchase shoes from them because I can order several pairs in different sizes, try them on at home for best fit, and then send back the ones that don’t fit. Zappos pays for the return shipping, reducing the risk of buying shoes online.
Shoe Fit and Comfort
When you put on the TerRocs for the first time, they scream comfort. This isn’t a shoe that requires much break-in at all.
Fit-wise the TerRocs run about a half-size small, just like the Roclites. They weigh 12.3 oz per shoe in a size 9.5 Mens US vs. 12.5 oz each for the Roclites.
In contrast to the Roclites, it feels like the internal volume and width of the TerRocs is a bit larger and wider. However, when I measured the width of the heel and front of the TerRocs and Roclites, they were the same.
When you hike in the TerRocs, they have a very different feel than the Roclites. First off, they are a lot less rigid and feel like they have less support in the heel and along the shank. You can see this on the shoe bottoms’ above, where the TerRocs are missing the extra fascia stabilization of the Roclites.
The area under the ball of the foot is also a lot softer on the TerRocs than the Roclites. If you push against the toe of the TerRocs with the ball of your hand, they bend up quite easily, while the Roclites won’t. This is due to the metatarsal ridge in the sole that Inov-8 brands as Meta-Flex. This is a grove in the shoe’s sole that is anatomically aligned in front of the metatarsal heads of the foot and provides a more natural fore foot flex that prevents stress fractures.
Another key difference between the two shoes is the toe-kick. The TerRocs provide significantly more protection to the toes and side of the fore foot than the Roclites. If you stub you toes a lot against rocks when you hike, the TerRocs are probably a good bet. The Roclites are designed much more like traditional running shoes in this regard.
Hiking in Rain
Drainage wise, the two shoes are very comparable. You can hike in the rain and through streams with both shoes and they shed water wonderfully through their mesh exteriors. In a side by side comparison, the Roclites look like they have a little more mesh in the rear of the shoe to promote drainage, but in field testing, I didn’t notice any significant difference.
As a long time boot wearer, I prefer hiking in the Roclites over the TerRocs because they have a much stiffer feel. I do wish the Roclites had the extra toe kick protection provided on the TerRocs, because I think this is a significant advantage, but not one that would force me to switch.
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